Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

East Africa: EAC Heads of States Hold 14th Ordinary Summit

The East African Community heads of states 14th ordinary summit, held in Nairobi on Friday, has approved three protocols: the EAC protocol on peace and security (dealing with cross-border crimes); the protocol on information and communication technology; and the protocol on sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The protocols were all proposed by the Minister of in charge of EAC's council. The 14th ordinary summit also approved the implementation of open health initiative to improve reproductive, maternal, infant, and child health in the EAC partners states in line with the goals of the global strategy for women's and children's health.

According to Rwanda's minister of EAC, Monique Mukaruriza, the summit directed the council of ministers to expedite negotiations towards the conclusion of the monetary union protocol and report progress at the 12th extraordinary summit of heads of states (to be held in April 2013) with a view to signing this protocol at the 15th summit.

"The summit directed us (the council of ministers) to commence negotiations with the republic of South Sudan on its bid to become a member of the EAC while taking into consideration the findings in the verification committee's report," Mukaruriza said, adding that the summit requested the council of ministers to engage Somalia and undertake a verification process of the application and report at the 15th summit of heads of states.

The summit also discussed Rwanda's request of obtaining the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. "The council of ministers had asked the EAC secretary general to write a letter to the UN testifying the support of the EAC member states to give to Rwanda those archives, and he has already sent the letter to the UN. We are waiting for the response and we hope that it will be positive," stated Mukaruriza. "Those archives are for Rwandans and include Rwandans' testimonies. They have to be kept by us for future use. We need to tell our story. We hope that with the EAC behind us, our voice will be heard."

EAC heads of states noted the progress of the regional initiative, through the international conference on the great lakes region (ICGLR), aimed at re-establishing constitutional order, peace and security in the Kivu region of the DRC in the face of insurgence by militia groups including the M23. "EAC Heads of states expressed their full support to the regional undertaking," said Minister Mukaruriza.

The heads of state also congratulated Rwanda for being elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and urged Rwanda to use this opportunity to advance the causes and interests of Africa in general and EAC in particular.

The EAC heads of state in Nairobi. (photo Village Urugwiro)

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